Albion Interactive History / Palenske Hall

Albion Interactive History

Albion Interactive History / Buildings / Albion College

Palenske Hall, 1970

Block +
US Census Block # 34-107

Palenske Hall joins Putnam Hall and the Norris Center to comprise the college’s science center. Palenske is joined to Norris by a covered walkway as shown in the picture to the right. Between the three buildings is a courtyard with benches, plantings, and a paved brick path.

A picture of building namesake Fred C. Palenske.

Source: Isaac Kremer, January 2004.

From the Albion College Archives

Norris, Putnam, Palenske Science Complex

Numerous pillars were raised into position by an 80-foot crane brought in from Detroit. In all, there are 36 columns, the largest of which weighs 20 1/2 tons, 1968.Austin-Everest Studio Student enrollment in the natural sciences had long surpassed the outmoded and outgrown facilities of the 1893 McMillan Laboratory for chemistry and 1916 Epworth Building for physics; and it was determined that it was time for a new complex in the 1960s. After generous donations by the Palenske and Putnam families and the momentum of President Norris’ building program, the groundbreaking ceremony for the complex was held on October 20, 1967. Participating in the design of the Science Center were the architects, Wold and Bowers of Grand Rapids, a faculy committee on planning, and administrative officers. It was not until April 23, 1970, however, that the complex was complete and dedicated, due to a strike of unionized carpenters. (Fennimore, p.637)

The Fred C. Palenske Hall is named for an industrialist, Fred Palenske, founder of the Industrial Rubber Goods Company, who never visited Albion College until the dedication of the building. But, when he sold his business in 1961, he made “anonymous” contributions of approximately $5,000 to nearly every private college in Michigan. His lawyer sent the checks. Albion was the only college that sent a “thank-you” letter, signed by Dr. Norris and addressed to the lawyer, which later yielded the gift to build the building.

The little white building on the roof of the building houses a 14″ telescope donated by a Chicago patent lawyer, Bill Stellman. The Stellman telescope uses a Daystar filter donated by Marvin Vann ’48. Ironically, the name “Stellman” means “starman”.

All photographs are from the Albion College Archives Photograph Files, unless otherwise noted.


Networked Resources
O’Connell, Patrick. (1997, Oct. 24). “$3 Million grant from Dow Foundation will provide upgraded science facilities.” Pleiad. Retrieved 10 June 2003,

Source: Albion College Archives, 2003 [Downloaded July 3, 2003]

Source: Keith Fennimore. The Albion College Sesquicentennial History. Albion, Michigan: Albion College. 1985.

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